Mr. Rambo

Whenever that white Cadillac pulled up in my driveway, I knew we were about to get into something. The “Fab Four” was either headed to the mall, to the movies or one of the teen parties we weren’t able to drive to just yet. It was Mr. Rambo who let us pile into his white-on-white Cadillac and play everything from Outkast to Master P all while talking loudly and laughing louder. He ensured our safety to each designated stop and always exercised patience as we took our time both coming and going.

Mr. Rambo was the first Black Man I saw up close who loved golf. He spent weekends on the course and had clubs and golf paraphernalia all around his house. He practiced in the basement and took his son and nephews to hit balls at the range while we baked cookies and worked on service projects for Girl Scouts.

Not a man of many words, but his presence was always felt throughout his house. He allowed us teenaged freedom, taste tested all of our kitchen creations and shook his head as we made home videos in his living room.

My Mother called on Father’s Day to tell us that Mr. Rambo lost his fight with cancer. Our best friends, Dad; our other Dad was gone. Immediately, I thought about all the memories in his house and all the rides in his car. I thought about all the times he opened the door to his home saying, “Harvey one and two, you’re back. Jessica is upstairs.”

This week I don’t have any profound words or analogies to share. I have a letter to eulogize part of my childhood. We lose people we love and grieve. We cry for our friends and their lives that will never be the same. We mourn for the memories that wash away to the recesses of our minds only to be pulled out to the sea of tears.

I am forever grateful to my lifelong friend Jessica for sharing her father with me. He stood with and by his family for the long haul. He showed us the quiet thunder of Black Love and Black Family long before coining phrases for Instagram was a thing. I know there is an all-white Cadillac, some gold golf clubs and probably a cigarette waiting for Harold in heaven. Travel light, Mr. Rambo, you will be deeply missed.

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